Warm Winter Getaway!
By Jaunty Staff
Sometimes overlooked in favor of it’s Baja cousin Cabo San Lucas, Punta De Mita Mexico is the perfect warm winter getaway! Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the 1500 acre private compound delivers the quintessential blend of awe inspiring beauty, a myriad of activities, friendly locals, outstanding cuisine and first rate accommodations; all within easy reach of major US airports.
Full disclosure: Over the last 15 years, I’ve spent a lot of quality time in Punta Mita. The Punta Mita Peninsula, sitting on the Bay of Banderas is one of my favorite spots in the whole world! As winter sets in, Punta Mita might be just what you need to recharge your soul!
Flights to Punta Mita
The modern Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International (PVR) sits on the edge of Puerto Vallarta with several daily direct flights arriving from the US and Canada (Los Angeles to PVR is 2 hours 40 minutes). Although the mid-day customs line tends to get pretty long, it moves fairly quickly. Rental car companies are a 5 min shuttle from the airport. Alternatively, you can arrange to have a driver pick you up (concierge service) and whisk you away to Punta Mita. The drive to Punta Mita is about 30 minutes.
Where to Stay in Punta Mita
Inside the gated compound, Punta Mita is home to 16 unique, low density, communities. From 1 BR condos or 10 BR estate homes, there’s a diverse array of accommodations. Unlike Cabo, there are no high rises within Punta Mita. The tallest feature on the Punta Mita compound is the heavily forested mountain, which is part of the Sierra Madre mountain range. And, with two golf courses, hiking/biking trails and beach clubs there’s a great deal of scenic, open space. We use MIta Residential to handle our bookings, but you can also go through you travel agent or PuntaMita.com for help in identifying your perfect Villa.
Hotels in Punta Mita
Punta Mita is home to the Four Seasons & St Regis Resorts. Both resorts offer luxurious hotel rooms, private villas, Spas, and several dining choices. The layouts feel as though you’re staying at an intimate hideaway, rather than large resort. It never seems crowded. Head to the main pools or bars if your looking to socialize & be festive or, you can also find a quiet patch of beach or dipping pool you can call your own!
With the popularity of the Punta Mita resort, some nearby hotels, condos & restaurants have laid claim to the Punta Mita name. For example, “the somewhere else hotel, Punta Mita” might be very near Punta De Mita, but not inside the compound. That’s not to say “The Somewhere” isn’t a great hotel. It just doesn’t have access to the amenities I’m discussing today. Make sure the property you choose is inside the gates of Punta Mita.
Punta Mita Hospital
Step on a Sea Urchin playing in the surf? Tweak something when you crushed that last drive on the golf course? The Punta Mita Hospital is a full service, North American Style hospital, right outside the gates of Punta Mita. The fully equipped and staffed facility is one of the leading medical facilities in the Riviera Nayarit region.
Punta Mita Mexico Vacation
Day 1 Punta Mita Itinerary
Passport stamped, red light-green light game complete, customs cleared, ½ hour drive to Punta Mita. Travel’s in your rear view… Let the vacation begin!
Golf Cart Culture –
Get out and tour the resort! Punta Mita is designed for golf cart travel. Most property rentals supply a golf cart as one of the amenities. If not, you can rent a cart from Mita Cart Rentals (Tell your concierge in advance and Mita Cart will deliver to your villa. There’s ample signage/maps to help guide you around the compound. You can also take your cart into El Anclote (Punta Mita Village), just outside the gates on Punta Mita to explore, hits restaurants etc…
To the Beach!
Throw on your suit and hit one of the beach clubs. There are 3 main beach clubs to visit; all an easy golf cart ride away.
The Beach Clubs offer: A friendly upbeat Vibe, full service bars & restaurants, pools, beautiful views from your lounge chair, lots of beach toys for rent & WiFi. Warm calm water perfect for swimming, snorkeling, stand up paddle, sailing, kayaking or simply vegetating! Lesson’s available for activities.
Kapuri Beach Club – Kapuri development, Pacific side
Largest of the 3 beach clubs with: massage treatments, ping pong, bars (be sure to grab a RopeSwing bar stool) & restaurants, pool & ocean access, beach strolling, sailing, kayaking.
Pacifico Beach Club by Four Seasons Resort, Banderas Bay
Recently refurbished: overlooks the Whales Tail (signature island golf hole), massage treatments, swimming, stroll the beach, check out the Whales Tail, reef Snorkeling, stand up paddle, kayaking, pool and ocean access.
Playa Fortuna Beach Club – Porta Fortuna, Banderas Bay
Smaller, more intimate club: stroll the Pier, book ocean adventures (like surfing, fishing) at the Playa Club, try the fresh fish of the day at Sufitos, edgeless pool access, ocean access via the pier (natural, rocky shoreline), stand up paddle, kayaking, access to surfing.
Staying at the Four Seasons or St Regis? They have their own beach clubs; a great place to start!
Punta Mita water temperature –
Punta Mita’s ocean temps are a toasty 82 to 88 degrees, year round! Warm, Refreshing, and worthy of one or more ocean activities! Perhaps a quick swim, stand up paddle or Kayak before settling into your lounge chair?
Dinner at Sufi Restaurant – Porta Fortuna
With panoramic views of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta, the casual elegance of Porta Fortuna’s ‘Mexiterranean’ Restaurant is warm and inviting. Signature Jalapeno margaritas, a large wine selection and a carefully curated menu are a wonderful way to kick off your first night out. The seafood paella, fresh tuna and Red snapper caught from the bay, mouth watering Carne Asada, Kobe Burgers, and the fresh pastas, are just a few of my favorites. Don’t forget the decadent desserts! Sufi books up, so a reservation is a good idea. Have your concierge or hotel make a reservation.
Dinner Option: The beautiful Palapa Bar at the St Regis serves dinner under the Palapa every evening. Great food and a chance to check out the St Regis, if your not staying there
Dinner Option: Si Senor, in El Anclote (Punta Mita Village). If your feeling more adventurous on night one, head into Anclote and Si Senor. Lively atmosphere, sitting right next to the bay and the marina with an extensive, fresh menu. The Cochinita Pibil (oven roasted pork), peruvian ceviche & Ajillo shrimp are a few of my favorites!
Day 2 Punta Mita Itinerary
Start the day on the recreation path –
The cooler morning air is perfect for a walk or jog on the recreation trail. The 4 mile pathway, weaves through Punta Mita. You can also rent a bike if you prefer. Shake off the cob webs!
Book a Round of golf –
Punta Mita is home to two signature Jack Nickulas designed courses. To play the courses, you need to be staying at the resort, which keeps the courses fairly quiet and accessible.
Pacifico Golf Course Punta Mita – Features spacious fairways & greens, with seven ocean holes and the world famous “Whale’s Tail” island green. Pack a few extra balls to master the 195 yard shot over the ocean and onto the Whale’s Tail!
Bahia Golf Course Punta Mita – Jack Nickulas described the beautiful Bahia course as the “great equalizer.” You may be able to crush your drive 300 hundred yards, but unless you can manage the undulating fairways & greens, & deep bunkers, it doesn’t matter 🙂 Bahia has 5 ocean holes and a few long lake holes as well. If your more of a margarita golfer (like me) I’d start with the Pacifico course! If golf’s your thing, Bahia’s for you.
Boost your game with Punta Mita Golf Academy – New in 2018, the state of the art golf academy is intended to help golfers improve fundamentals like pivot, plane, short game, putting, and shot selection, by actively practicing and analyzing them, both on and off the course.
Option: Tennis or Pickleball at the Tennis Club – Tennis Resorts Online rated Punta Mita as “One of the Top 20 Tennis Resorts in the World” and “No.1 Tennis Resort in Mexico”
Option: Try a different beach club if “chilling” is on tap
Road Trip to Sayulita –
The town of Sayulita is about a half hour drive from Punta MIta. The classic style Mexican town, complete with town square & cobblestone roads offers an eclectic mix of unique small shops, artists and restaurants worthy of an afternoon or evening visit. Sayulita is also a beach town with a famous (although usually crowded) surf break.
60’s Mexican Bohemian might describe the vibe of Sayulita; more than a few hippy gringos call Sayulita home. This only adds to the festive nature of the town and is reflected in many of the local shops. If you can arrange to be in town for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead, October 31st) Sayulita goes all out! A car service or taxi from Punta Mita might save on the challenge of parking.
Shops to Check out: Pacha Mama Boutique, Sayulita Hippie Market, Sayulita Sol Jewelry, Evoke the Spirit to name a few.
Sayulita Wine Shop –
On a quest for outstanding Mezcal, Tequila and Wine? My favorite shop in Sayulita is Sayulita Wine Shop. The owners scour Mexico, searching for and finding the best boutique, artisanal Tequila, Mezcal’s and Wine. They are extremely knowledgeable of the spirits they sell & provide samples to insure you’ll enjoy your purchase. Another reason to use a car service 🙂
Happy Hour at Imanta Resort –
On the way back from Sayulita, you will pass the exclusive Imanta Resort. Imanta sits on a pristine, 250-acre ecological jungle preserve. The observatory bar, high above the resort, offers sweeping views of the Jungle and Pacific ocean; the perfect spot for drinks and appetizers as the day winds down. PS -The front gate of Imanta is very non-descript. Look for the guard to check in. It’s about a 10-15 min drive into the jungle, once inside the preserve. Reservations required to gain entrance.
Dinner at Tacos Y Papas, El Anclote –
If your still up on your high school Spanish, yes… It’s Tacos and Potatoes. The family run restaurant, just outside the compound (a short golf cart ride) is a local institution, serving delectable street style Tacos and stuffed potatoes, filled with fresh veggies, spices and the meat of your choosing.
Compliment your food with a Corona or their Mango margarita The relaxed atmosphere and Mexican comfort food establishment is on my list every visit. No reservation required, can get crowded on the weekends, so arrive early!
Option: Rosa Mexicano, El Anclote – The colorful ocean front restaurant is warm and inviting, with friendly staff & delicious food. Start with the fresh, fire roasted salsa, made table side.
Day 3 Punta Mita Itinerary
Boat Excursion to the Marieta Islands –
Located just a few miles off the coast, the Marieta islands are an uninhabited National Park. The natural beauty, abundant marine life and sanctuary for 44 different species of plants and wildlife, including the Blue Footed Booby provide many camera worthy moments.
Thanks to conservation efforts, no one is allowed on the island and visits to the area are limited, reducing the crowds. A swim through the arch, to love beach inside the island is also worth the trip. Tours usually involve swimming, snorkeling or paddling around the Island. If your PADI certified, the Marietas are a great dive spot, with excellent visibility. Plan on a half day. Reservation required.
Option: Fishing, Sport Fishing, Spear Fishing – The Bay of Banderas is teeming with a wide variety of fish; Bonita, Tuna, Jack Crevalle, Sierra Mackerel, Pargo, Red Snapper, Grouper, Dorado Wahoo & Marlin all call the bay home. Reserve a boat at Punta Mita Ocean Sports or Mictlan Surf (El Anclote).
Recharge in the Remede Spa, St Regis –
After a couple days of vacation mode, treat yourself some personal pampering at the St Regis, Remede Spa. Massages, scrubs, plunge pools, steams are all available within the tranquil environment of Remede Spa. Book on your 1st day or before you arrive, to insure a desired treatment time.
Dinner at Hector’s Kitchen, El Anclote –
Hector Leyva, head chef and fixture on the Punta Mita culinary scene, blends only the freshest ingredients and boldest flavors to create a dining experience you won’t soon forget. The cool, modern atmosphere & craft cocktails make for a great evening out, for a final night in Punta Mita.
Option: Spend an afternoon with Hector – Head with Hector to La Cruz to visit the local fish market. Learn about the types of fish in the area and how to select. Then, head back to Hector’s for a cooking class, learning how to cook authentic Mexican cuisine, before enjoying a wonderful lunch. Reservations required, $80 per person.
Option: Los Agaves Restaurant, El Anclote – Great dining from the 2nd floor balcony. Elaborate selection of high end tequilas.
Day 4 Punta Mita Itinerary
Surf or learn to Surf –
Super warm water, 5 distinct surf spots, gentle waves for beginners in El Anclote. Punta Mita surf is a treat for beginners and seasoned surfers alike. You can rent boards in town (I like Mictlan Surf Shop) or at the Sufi Beach club. You can arrange for an instructor and a Panga boat to drive you out to the Surf from Sufi Pier or in town. If you’re a surfer, there’s something pretty great about boating to the surf spot and getting dropped off just outside the waves! Have the boat stay with you or get dropped off for later pickup. If you have a flight later that day, I would recommend you have the boat remain with you.
The Beach break in El Anclote – fun for beginners and great in general on bigger days. It’s also nice to enjoy the surf, then wander into one of the local beach bars for a beer, chips and guacamole afterwards.
Favorite breaks – Bahia and El Faro (when El Faro’s going off).
Options: Check out the Whales – on full display in Banderas Bay from December to March. Often you can see them spouting and breaching the water from the shore line. If you’d like a close look, many tours are available.
Sufi Beach Club for lunch –
After an adventure on the water, & the boat has returned you to the Sufi pier, grab a great lunch at Sufitos, at Playa Fortuna Beach club. The wood fired grill serves up fresh grilled seafood & burgers. The Ceviche is also terrific.
Back to the airport –
Give yourself about 45 minutes (an hour if your dropping a rental car) to get to the airport. Two hours at the airport should be ample time to clear customs & make your flight